Pebble Mine: Alaska’s Looming Disaster – Osprey Packs Experience
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Pebble Mine: Alaska’s Looming Disaster

Sockeye red salmon spawning in the gravels of Koktuli River. The Bristol Bay region has all five species of anadromous salmon: sockeye (red), chinook (king), coho (silver), chum (dog) and pink (humpy)

Does drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge worry you?  Then you’ll be terrified by Pebble.

Take the second largest gold/copper/molybdenum deposit in the world. Stick it above the largest salmon runs in the world. That’s the Pebble deposit. Pebble in the wrong spot.

The Pebble deposit is in southwest Alaska, near Lake Clark National Park and Lake Iliamna. Water from the area drains into Bristol Bay, the largest sustainable salmon fishery in the world. The problem is gold mines are never clean. The mine would sterilize the streams where the salmon spawn. The November issue of National Geographic will have an article on Brisol Bay and the Pebble Mine.

Cathy also measures water quality during each visit. She takes water samples and sends them to a lab in Washington that analyzes for heavy metals among other things.

To some degree, all hydrologists in Alaska are working on the Pebble. They’re gathering baseline data—recording the water condition in it’s pristine state. In case something goes drastically wrong—like the Pebble Mine begins—they’ll know the original conditions. My wife is gathering baseline data on the Koktuli River for Bristol Bay Native Association. Her Koktuli site is a few miles downstream from Pebble. I’ve joined her a few times as a field assistant. This summer we did the fieldwork then visited the Wood Tikchik Lakes.

Browse the images and captions below for more from our trip and watch the trailer for Red Gold to learn more about this incredible place and the threat of Pebble Mine.